The Henry M. Newhall Foundation recently provided the Newhall School District with a challenge: Raise $10,000 from parents and supporters who want to help the district purchase musical instruments and the foundation will match the public’s generosity with another $10,000.
Newhall is one of the few elementary school districts with a classroom, choral, and orchestral music program that serves all students grades K-6. Students who want to continue their music in the district’s orchestra program can do so in grades 4-6. While many parents choose to own their instruments or rent an instrument, the district’s goal is to provide an instrument for every student who wants one so that everyone can play.
Newhall School District is asking for parents’ and the public’s support in their fundraising effort. All contributions are tax deductible and donation forms can be found on the district website, www.newhallschooldistrict.net. Student instrument prices vary from approximately $200 each for violins, to about $230 for woodwinds and brass, to $450 cellos. With $10,000 in donations matched by the $10,000 challenge grant, approximately eighty new instruments can be purchased.
Newhall’s third graders are taught basic note reading and learn to the play the recorder as part of the district’s classroom music program. Students are then actively encouraged to join the instrumental music program as they move to 4th grade. For many this is the only opportunity they have or will ever have to be exposed to a musical instrument.
A team of three teachers serves all students in 4th through 6th grade instrumental music, providing small group lessons in string, wind, brass and percussion instruments. The instrumental music program currently serves about nine-hundred (900) students. Two additional teachers deliver comprehensive general music instruction to all primary grades, upper grade vocal instruction, and recorder lessons at 3rd grade. Two concerts per year, performed for family, students and staff, are highlight events that showcase students’ growing musical proficiency.
The District currently owns about 500 instruments and at any one time, about 450 are available for student use. Annually, because of preference for specific instruments, about 400 students are the beneficiaries of an instrument loan program from a District-owned stock of string, wind, brass and percussion instruments. Other students voluntarily rent or own their instruments.
Students from the Newhall School District move onto the William S. Hart High School District at seventh grade. The bands at Placerita and Ranch Pico Jr. Highs are recognized statewide, due in large part because of the Newhall District students who choose to continue their musical experiences in their secondary schools.
About the Newhall Family Foundation
Henry Mayo Newhall
The Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation is a private family foundation whose mission is “to improve the quality of life within the geographical areas associated with the career and legacy of California pioneer, Henry Mayo Newhall.”
Henry Mayo Newhall was a New England Yankee who caught gold fever in 1849 and landed in San Francisco in the Gold Rush. Unable to find gold, he started an auction business, which thrived. He then established the first railroad from San Francisco to San Jose and used the proceeds to buy Spanish land grants in California.
Along the way he became a founder and benefactor of many charitable, social, and educational institutions in 19th-century California. In 1963, his fourth-generation descendants established the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation as a tribute to their patriarch.
The foundation is headquartered in San Francisco and is governed by a 13-member board, all of whom are family members. The board meets in the spring and fall to review and approve grant requests from non-profit organizations and conducts site visits throughout the year with prospective grant recipients.
The corpus of the foundation includes gifts and bequests from Newhall family members for support of philanthropic activities in the communities where H.M. Newhall lived or had business interests. These communities are the city of San Francisco, the Santa Maria Valley on the central California coast and the Santa Clarita Valley in northern Los Angeles County.